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CLO Drags IGP To Court Over Continued Detention Of Zionist Movement Members

Suleiman Abba


The Civil Liberties Organisation CLO, has dragged the Inspector- General of police, IGP, Suleiman Abba, to court over prolonged detention of some members of pro- Biafran group, Zionist Federation Movement, without trial.

Those arrested and languishing in the police net are, Benjamin Onwuka, (leader of the movement), Kelvin Eke, Saamson Ijaga, Uduma Uduma, Bethran Obiekwe, Abraham Ugwu, Paulinus Uzoegbu, Fidelis Nwaonu, Nnamchi Ndubuisi, Michael Olenya, Josephat Nwaodo and Alloysius Chukwuma.

CLO filed the suit on behalf of the Biafra activists at a Federal High Court sitting in Enugu, with suit No FHC/EN//157/2014.

It sought “a DECLARATION that the continued detention of the Applicants at the Police Force Headquarters, Abuja, by respondents since the 7th day of June 2014, without trial, constitutes a flagrant violation of the applicants’ fundamental rights guaranteed under sections 34, 35 and 36(5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.

According to the human Rights organization, it also violation of Articles 5, 6 & 7, of the African Charter on Human & Peoples Rights, (Ratification and Enforcement Act) Cap. A9 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and is therefore illegal, unconstitutional, null and void.

The organization is equally seeking “An order of the Honorable Court releasing the Applicants forthwith from unlawful detention.

“Alternatively, AN ORDER of the Honorable Court Directing the Respondents to charge the Applicants to Court forthwith for whatever offence they might have committed.

“AN ORDER OF PERPETUAL INJUNCTION restraining the Respondents, whether by themselves, their agents, privies or otherwise howsoever from further harassing, intimidating, trailing, scaring, arresting or detaining the Applicants upon the same facts constituting the complaints enumerated in this application or in any other manner infringing on the applicants’ fundamental rights.

“N10 Million Naira being exemplary, punitive, aggravated, special and general damages against the Respondent for its’ infringement of the applicants’ constitutional and fundamental rights”.

South-East Coordinator of the CLO, Olu Omotayo, who filed the suit on behalf of the applicants, stated that the organization’s argument before the court in support of the action is that “the Applicants were arrested and subjected to torture by the Police and are still being incarcerated without trial at the Police headquarters, Abuja.

“It is submitted that the police have subjected the Applicants to harassment, intimidation and unlawful detention and inhuman treatment without them committing any offence known to the law.

“It is unconstitutional for the police to continue the detention of the Applicants without trial or arraignment before a court of competent jurisdiction for whatever offences they might have committed.

“We further submit that the action of the police and their agents in subjecting the applicants to torture and continued unlawful detention is illegal and an arbitrary exercise of power in breach of the entrenched rights of citizens

“That the applicants were transferred to the Police Headquarters, Abuja, on the 7th day of June 2014, where they are detained under an inhuman condition till date.

“That since over three months ago the applicants have been languishing in detention.

“That the applicants were being subjected to humiliation and torture at their present place of detention at Police headquarters, Abuja.

“Access was refused to the Applicants by the police, as their families and human rights workers including officials of Amnesty International were not allowed to see them.

“That unless the applicants are released or charged before a court of competent jurisdiction, they will continue to languish in detention and may die as their health condition deteriorates each passing day”.

However, Chief Ambrose Ugwu, a member of the movement who deposed to the affidavit in support of the suit maintained as follows:

“That the applicants are members of “Biafra Zionist Federation” (BZF), a peaceful movement for the liberation of the entire Biafra people of former Eastern region of Nigeria.

“That the applicants and other members of “Biafra Zionist Federation” had on the 5th day of June 2014 stage a peaceful protest to intimate the world the suffering and plight of people of the sovereign state of Biafra.

“That the applicants and other members of the “Biafra Zionist Federation” were not armed or carry any offensive weapon on that fateful day.

“That as they marched to the “Enugu State Broadcasting Service” the state owned radio corporation, they demanded to see the programme producer, so that they can through him intimate the whole world the plight of the Biafran people.

“That while the Applicants and others were still standing around the premises of the radio corporation, several teams of policemen came and started shooting sporadically and in the process wounded several members of the Biafra Zionist Federation, and also killed a member of the movement named Chike Igbanugo.

“The invading policemen also mistakenly killed a policeman who was felled by volleys of gun shots from the rampaging policemen shooting indiscriminately.

“The applicants were apprehended beaten, tortured, handcuffed and stripped naked and thereafter taken to the State Police Command headquarters, Enugu, where they were detained and later paraded half naked before press men.”

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